Are You Feeding Your Horse These 4 ‘Healthy’ – Yet Dangerous – Foods?

Monsteranto

Monsteranto – Hatch One Today

Have you ever watched the movie I Am Legend with Will Smith?  The story is about a “cure” for cancer that later resulted in radical long term effects that almost knocked out the human race as we know it today.

At first, the treatment completely cures a patient’s cancer.  That sounds great doesn’t it?  Not so great if horrible mutations developed after the fact.

I walked away from that movie with a sick feeling in my stomach, because it’s not that far fetched from what could become a reality.

Something I keep in mind is that although science is powerful and beneficial, Mother Nature will always reign – one way or another.  Man tends to easily forget that small detail.

Have you ever thought about how much your food source is manipulated through science?  Not only that, but we’ve been led to believe that certain food stuffs are healthy and safe.

Did you know there are several ingredients that are commonly considered healthy but can pose a danger to your horse?

These healthy ingredients are contained not only in your food supply but also in most equine products on the market.

Each ingredient I’m going to introduce to you are genetically modified and commonly fed to horses.

Manipulating Nature Through Science

A genetically modified organism (GMO) easily fits into the category of manipulating nature through science.

What is GMO?   It’s an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques in an unnatural way.

You may think, “Why is that so bad?”  Well, most think it’s a perfectly fine practice.  While others are completely against it – I’m one of those people.

I choose to avoid GMO ingredients in my own diet as well as my equine partner’s diet.  Why?  Because GMOs have been linked to long term health risks.  If nothing else, that alone should be good enough reason to be aware, educate yourself, get involved, and buy Non-GMO products.

In 1995, GMOs were introduced on a commercial level.  Since then, they’ve become widely incorporated into livestock feeds – especially horse related products.

Unfortunately, often times, it’s difficult to tell if GMO ingredients have been added to your favorite commercial equine product.

Something to consider, about 75% of processed foods contain genetically modified ingredients.  A good rule of thumb is to avoid most processed equine products, unless it’s labeled USDA 100% Certified Organic.

What Ingredients to Avoid

I’m often asked what I feed my horses.  My response is more along the lines of what I avoid feeding instead.  The reason – because what I avoid is usually what most equine guardians will feed their horse.

I have a list of key ingredients I consistently avoid feeding – four of those are genetically modified.

Canola (Canola Oil or Meal)

Some people may use canola oil or meal to help put and keep weight on an underweight horse.  Not only are canola-based products a less than ideal fat choice for your horse, they’re GMO and are carcinogenic.

I choose to avoid feeding a product that contains canola anything to my equine partners – I hope you consider avoiding it too.

Corn

I grew up on a cattle farm and know that corn is routinely fed to livestock to fatten them up and to provide energy.  A common product used in the equine industry is corn oil.  It’s often given to horses for weight gain.  Corn is also included in many equine commercial feeds.

Corn is not only GMO, but over 86% of all U.S. corn products are Monsanto GMO and are carcinogenic.  Next to soy, corn is one of the most prevalent genetically modified foods in the US food supply, and it has been linked to potentially serious health effects.

I choose to avoid feeding corn to my equine partners – I hope you consider avoiding it too.

Soy

Most equine guardians believe that feeding soy is perfectly fine, but I avoid feeding anything with this ingredient at all costs.  Not only that, I avoid it in my own diet.  It’s hard because it’s in most everything, but it can be done.

Most all soy is GMO.  To be more specific, 93% of soy is genetically modified – and a large corporation by the name of Monsanto owns the GMO rights to soy.  For more information, see our review on the movie Food Inc.  You’ll be amazed at what more you’ll discover.

Even if you do choose to feed soy and you find a Non-GMO soy product, first think where in the heck did it come from – remember 93% of all soy is genetically modified.  Secondly, watch Food Inc. and you’ll discover the difficulty and legal battles going on with cross pollination between GMO and Non-GMO soy – interesting stuff.

Thirdly, soy that isn’t being genetically modified still causes other health concerns.  I’ve experienced this first hand.  Soy will influence and disrupt natural hormone levels, which can lead to many health issues.  For example, soy is known to be thyroid-suppressive, making hypothyroidism worse by causing glandular imbalances.

However, I discovered that fermented soy does have healthy benefits. This is the reason soy gets such a great reputation.   Regardless, I completely avoid it!

Remember, the form a food source comes in is extremely important.  Is an ingredient you’re feeding your horse whole food form with no processing?  This is an important question to ask yourself.  Note – I’m not telling you to go feed Non-GMO fermented soy to your horse.

Soy is a popular ingredient in most equine products, but the risks of feeding soy FAR outweigh any possible benefits.

I choose to avoid feeding soy to my equine partners – I hope you consider avoiding it too.

Beet Pulp

I saved the best for last – the much debated beet pulp ingredient recommended by most any equine “expert” in the industry.

Beet pulp has become a very popular food source for horses – mostly due to the epidemic of insulin resistance.

Beet pulp comes from the genetically modified sugar beet – 95% of sugar beets are genetically modified.  Half the nation’s sugar supply is derived from beets.

Consider what I’ve already shared with you and apply your critical thinking skills.  Then, make your own decision about feeding beet pulp to your horse.

I choose to avoid feeding beet pulp to my equine partners – I hope you consider avoiding it too.

Avoidance of GMO Ingredients Is a Safe Bet

Since GMO foods have been linked to long term health risks, it’s a safe bet to avoid feeding them to your horse all together.

If you avoid feeding GMO foods to your horse, you could decrease the likelihood of long term health effects such as – immune system impairment, impaired fertility,  allergies,  thyroid disorders, damage to the pituitary gland, and cancer – just to name a few.

By avoiding GMO foods in your own diet, it becomes that much easier to do it for your horse – awareness is key.

Once you research GMO further and you become aware of how dangerous GMOs are to your health, as well as to the environment, you’ll understand the importance of removing genetically engineered ingredients from not only your equine partner’s diet but also from our food supply as a whole.

Do your best to become more educated and avoid GMO foods in horse related products and in your own diet – to help you out, download and share the Non-GMO Shopping Guide located at:  www.NonGMOShoppingGuide.com  Additionally, share this article with not only your horsey friends but also with your non-horsey friends and family as well.

This article is included in a 7-part Feeding a Horse Naturally 101 series.

Keep if soulful,
Stephanie Krahl

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Photo Credit - original photo modified by removing “MONSTERSANTO HATCH ONE TODAY” also modified in size and to include the Soulful Equine URL and article title.

Sources for this article include:

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GMO Myths and Truths

A report from 2012 prepared by the preeminent researchers and scientists: Michael Antoniou, Claire Robinson, and John Fagan.

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An animated cartoon that covers all the basics on why GMOs are dangerous.

This video covers all the basics on GMOs, including how they’re engineered, why they kill the things that eat them, and the disastrous health effects they’ve been linked to in humans. It serves as both a reminder of the facts to those who already know about GMOs as well as a great primer for people new to the subject. It’s worth taking the time to watch!

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Comments

  1. Marti Caskey says

    Hi Stephanie,
    So glad you’ve brought up the subject of GMO’s. I’ve been preaching their evils forever and my friends just roll their eyes figuring their tree-hugger friend Marti is just off on another of her tangents. I buy organic everything, grow a little of our food and shop at the farmer’s market 6 months out of the year. We buy almost no processed food and cook a lot with our kids, ages 4 and 7. However, even though I’ve given considerable thought and research to my horses’ diets, I’ve not found a source of non-GMO feed for them. I am currently feeding them the ADM Alliance Forage First Feeds. My Cash is getting the Senior GLO and Betsy, our pony gets the Healthy GLO, just enough to get her daily garlic, vitamins, minerals and Bragg’s into her. Can you please share with me what you feed your horses. I have built a Paddock Paradise as I’m a follower of Jaime Jackson’s method of Natural Horse Keeping, so my horses primary diet is a grass-based hay that I’ve had tested and is very low in sugars. No clover and alfalfa in this hay. Looking forward to hearing your feeding plan for yours. And thanks for your interesting articles, I always look forward to them.

    • says

      Hi Marti,

      Often times, those of us who choose to take our health and our horses’ health seriously are perceived differently from what’s considered the “norm.” The funny thing is, seeking out what will promote quality of life and longevity is what’s normal to us. :-) I’ve found it’s usually best to set good examples and if someone is ready for the information, they’ll eventually ask – otherwise, they’re not worth your time or energy.

      Regarding what I feed – nutrition as a whole is both a science and an art and is a huge subject. I treat each horse as an individual. Unfortunately, there’s no cookie cutter approach to feeding your horse. You’ll be much better off starting with what to avoid and then constructing your plan from there.

      Thanks for sharing your feedback and I appreciate your comments.

  2. gt says

    Hi Stephanie,

    You know my long time interest and study on nutrition and related issues. I just want to say that your observations are spot on.

    Some will heed, others not. Responsiveness is out of our control; on balance that is a very good thing.

    Those who are receptive to your message, the life long learners, will make their way to Soulful Equine guided by a greater force “that shapes our lives rough hew them as we will.” (Bill Shakespeare said that somewhere.)

    • says

      Hi GT,

      You’re correct, what I’ve attempted to share is a difficult subject for some to understand, but it’s important information. Thanks for the wonderful quote. The “life long learners” will appreciate it. :-)

  3. CIndy says

    HI Stephanie,

    I loved the artical, I have a lot of clients ask me the same thing, if not commercial than what. I recommend according to the horses needs for sure. They are all indivduals. My gelding gets black oil sunflower seeds for fat and to support hoof condition and hair coat, and a special chilated vitamin and mineral suppliment. Along with grass and grass hay, no alfalfa or clover. He does great on this diet and I have found it working very well for a lot of the other horses I see.

    If you have any thoughts on this I would love to hear your opinion.

  4. UltimateHorsemanship (@ULTIMATEHORSEMA) says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I want to say THANK YOU!

    After reading about GMO, this morning – I called a new producer of horsefeed and ordered new products for my horses.
    I got really surprised about Safe Bet. I have given my horses this twice a day for four years. Now I found a GMO free bet.

    Thanks again.

  5. says

    Hi, what do u recommend for a Beet Pulp replacer for those of us that do use it as a carrier. I use it to make sure my OTTB gets water in his gut and add his supplements (Chia, CA trace, Flax, etc) in it.
    Thanks :)

    • says

      Hi Kristen,
      I’ve never used beet pulp and don’t ever plan to. :-) There are many options for carriers that are safe even for laminitic-prone horses. Finding good quality hay cubes that you soak is a great option.

  6. Robynne Catheron says

    Hi Stephanie,
    My barefoot trimmer forwarded your website to me, and I’m so glad she did. Great information here! We try to provide an all-natural environment for our horses, including their diet. No cooked or extruded pellets, no sweet feed. We’ve been extremely happy with two years of absolute health and soundness of all three of our geldings, which we’ve attributed to The Natural Vet’s “What to Feed Your Horse.” They were pretty much walking vet bills up until the switch. I would really appreciate your thoughts on his products, including his non-GMO soy oil. I’ve been saying the proof is in the pudding, but maybe I’ve been wrong? Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give me.

    • says

      Hi Robynne,

      I’m glad you’re finding the information on Soulful Equine useful. I love your story and especially the statement about your horses being “walking vet bills” up until the switch.

      It’s amazing the transformation that happens when someone stops micro-managing a horse’s health and simply gets out of the way – of course, as you know, there’s more to it than that.

      As far as The Natural Vet’s product line, I have an opinion about it. I personally choose not to use those products.

      Regardless of the soy oil being non-GMO, I don’t feed my horses any soy products. Check out the links at the end of my article and those may help you out. There are many reasons why soy is not a good food choice other than the GMO aspect.

  7. Kathy Hagle says

    I am surprised that there isn’t more information about GMO’s and horse feed. As I am sure that the health issues and mental issues found in horses at this time are directly linked to GMO’s. I didn’t come to find out or be concerned about GMO’s until I had health issues last year and looked into the Weston A. Price foundation. Which spoke of this dangerous issues with soy in humans as well as what the GMO’s do as well.

    Since then I have been on a hunt for GMO free animal food, after extensive searching I found some for my parrots, dogs and cat. But I have yet to find an easy source for my chinchilla or horses. There is a company called Genesis that has GMO free horse feed. But it looks like it is extremely hard to find. And the one feed for the chinchilla that was soy free now isn’t.

    I have seen the movie Food INC. as well as several others like it. And the news on those movies has made me completely aware of what I feed my animals as well as my family. I had extreme health issues until I started to eat cleaner. And I am more then sure this also effects my animal family members as well. I would like to see more of an out cry in the equine world over this. As people can not turn a blind eye to the mess GMO”s have created in this world.

  8. Vashtibelle says

    Hi,
    Wow it’s nice to know I’m not alone in thinking about this topic. In my research I have found that flax seed and alfalfa also fall into the GMO contaminated feed sources. Unfortunately many vitamins are grown on GMO substrates as well.
    Thank you for sharing your article.
    Isbell